MADRID: A Spanish judge is accusing the European branch of China’s state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) of aiding criminal organisations to launder more than 214 million euros ($256m).

National Court judge Ismael Moreno said that the Luxembourg-based ICBC Europe should also be held responsible for the money allegedly laundered by its Spanish branch between 2011 and 2014. Seven top executives tied to the bank’s Madrid premises have already been under investigation since February 2016.

In a ruling released Mon­day, the judge said ICBC Europe had a degree of knowledge of the alleged laundering. Mr Moreno said that the bank’s office in central Madrid proactively raised cash from illicit businesses and criminal gangs and then hid the deposits by making loans to overseas customers, mostly through transfers to China.